After almost a year of therapy to deal with this issue with my little brother Brian —Nothing’s Unconditional — and of course other thoughts and issues that tend to chip away at my soul — my psychologist, Lynn, suggested about six weeks ago to put me on a low dose of antidepressant.
I have been on antidepressants before, for about three years almost ten years ago, and although it helped take the edge off and I didn’t cry as much, I chose to ween myself off, as I didn’t want to be tethered to them the rest of my life.
The good news is that it wasn’t a traumatic thing; yes, I would have to buck up and pick my battles on the things that irritated me, and even more so, I had to own the tears that would tend to fall a little more often. But I was fine, and would remain so for a few years after that, including during my mother’s illness and even her death.
Since then, a new batch of issues has come into play, and the tears and anguish I have spent over Brian’s and my estrangement have been overwhelming. Therapy has helped, but at times it felt as if my wheels just kept spinning and not getting me anywhere.
Regardless, the decision to get on some sort of medication was not a knee-jerk response; it took some deep thought and consideration, and more importantly, an appointment with a psychiatrist.
In that appointment a lot of questions were asked in a 45-minute period. A bit shaken and tearful in answering some of the questions, I could still somehow see a small light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Four weeks in, I realize that it was a good decision. A different med from the ones I had taken before, it has taken the edge off. Things at work don’t irritate me quite as much; bad drivers irritate me, but not as much; and as for my brother? My mindset has gone from, “I wish he was back in my life, how could he abandon me this way?” to “What a jerk. Okay, if he wants it to be this way, fine. I miss him, but this is all about him.” The obsession with him is gone.
Reporting back to Lynn, she beamed, “That’s what we were looking for.”
“I still feel remorse, but it’s not consuming me like before,” I mused.
“That shows that the medication is working,” she replied. “If you were to say, ‘Brian? Who’s that? Who cares?, etc.,’ then that wouldn’t be you; but the fact that you can still feel, but not let it eat away at you, shows that we made the right decision.”
Earlier this week when I met with the psychiatrist for a follow-up, she, too, was pleased — but not surprised.
“Prozac works,” she said, smiling.
“There just seemed to always be a stigma when it came to that particular drug,” I confessed. “I was skeptical.”
“Are you pleased with the dosage, or do we need an upgrade?,” she asked.
“I’m fine with this for now,” I smiled.
“Okay, then. See you in three months,” she said, getting up from her desk and leading me to the door. “If you need anything before then, don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Okay, thank you very much,” I said, shaking her hand warmly.
Prozac. 20 milligrams. I’m in.